Great review of Messy from Brandon Graham!
Accomplished multimedia artist Mark Snyder’s latest effort ‘Messy’ proves to be a beautifully ethereal and thought provoking experience. To properly experience the album, one must find their way to Mark’s website where there are videos accompanying each of the songs (and more, I might add). These videos (from live multimedia performances, upon which the respective songs are based) provide a complete aural experience for the listener/viewer. While the music, which is based around just three main instruments: the clarinet, the accordian and the tuba; is very droning, spacious and airy, it tends to be minimal, yet VERY effective. As each song begins with its respective instrument, they then build with synths, electronics, sparse field recordings, etc. While most of the songs follow the same basic formula or ‘structure’ it takes nothing away from the experience as the ever evovling kaleidoscope of imagery ranges from dark, grainy and slowly evolving to bright, colorful and rapidly strobing. While a majority of the pieces herein are arranged for clarinet (and what use he makes of it!), I found myself compelled by the tuba pieces (Malmo and Copenhagen), wherein he transforms the instrument into a haunting, howling, even chanting creature while folding in just a bit of hope beneath rich, dissonant tones with (I’ll dare to say it) Bach-like qualities; and a growling beast bathed in whispers and noise which build to an atmosphere of near madness; respectively. I definitely recommend the cd, but even moreso, I recommend viewing the accompanying videos as you listen.